Sheena Blackhall

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Sheena Blackhall
Sheena Blackhall
Sheena Blackhall
Born Sheena Booth Middleton
Occupation poet, novelist, short story writer, illustrator, traditional story teller and singer
Language Scots, English
Nationality Scottish

Sheena Blackhall is a poet, novelist, short story writer, illustrator, traditional story teller and singer. Author of over 120 poetry pamphlets, 12 short story collections, 4 novels and 2 televised plays for children, The Nicht Bus and The Broken Hert. Along with Les Wheeler, she co-edits the Doric resource Elphinstone Kist, and has worked on the Aberdeen Reading Bus, as a storyteller and writer,[1] also sitting on the editorial board for their children's publications in Doric, promoting Scots culture and language in the North East. In 2018 Aberdeen University awarded her the degree of Bachelor of the University.


Sheena Blackhall (b. Sheena Booth Middleton) was born in 1947 in Aberdeen, daughter of the manager of Strachan's Deeside Omnibus Service, Charles Middleton, and his second cousin, farmer's daughter Winifred Booth. She was educated in Aberdeen, but summered in Ballater for many years. Her brother, Ian Middleton, was an accomplished organist and clavichord player, who was the manager of a merchant bank in São Paulo, Brazil, where he settled and died.[2] During the typhoid epidemic in Aberdeen of 1964, Blackhall was hospitalized in the town's City Hospital for several weeks.[3] The family transport firm, owned by her aunt, closed as a side effect of this.

After a year's study at Gray's School of Art, Blackhall passed a teaching diploma and worked for a time as a special needs teacher, marrying and raising a family of 4 in this period, when she wrote children's stories for BBC Radio Scotland. In 1994 she obtained a Bsc (Hons. Psych) from the Open University, going on to gain an M.Litt with Distinction from Aberdeen University in 2000. From 1998–2003 she was Creative Writing Fellow in Scots at[4] Aberdeen University's [1] Elphinstone Institute and is currently attached to the Institute as an Honorary Research Associate. In 2003 she travelled as part of a group to Washington, showcasing Scotland's culture as a guest of the Smithsonian Institution. In 2007 she was Creative Writing Tutor at the Institute of Irish and Scottish studies at King's College, and two years later was Writer in Residence during Aberdeen University's Word Festival.[5] In April 2009 she was inaugurated as Makar[6] for Aberdeen[7] and the North East of Scotland.[8] In 2018 she was awarded the honour of Bachelor of the University by King's College Aberdeen

Awards and honours[edit]

She has won the Robert McLellan tassie for best Scots short story 3 times (1989,1990,2001) and the Hugh MacDiarmid trophy for best Scots poem 4 times (1990,2000,2001,2010). In 1992 she shared the Sloane Award with Matthew Fitt from St. Andrew's University. Other prizes include awards from the Doric Festival, the Bennachie Baillies, and from the TMSA for ballad writing and traditional singing. She has twice been shortlisted for the Callum Macdonald Poetry Pamphlet prize (2005 & 2009). In 2007, Lallans Magazine awarded her the William Gilchrist Graham prize for best Scots short story. She has also been shortlisted for the McCash poetry prize. She has also won the prize for best Scots Poem at Wigtown. Her short story 'The Wall', was the winning entry in Bipolar Scotland's 2013 competition, featuring in the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival. In 2016 she became an Honorary Fellow of the WORD Centre for Creative Writing, Aberdeen University.


She trained as a Creative Writing tutor with Survivor's Poetry Scotland, under Larry Butler, and was a member of the Arts and health organization, Lapidus. A Buddhist, she goes on annual retreats to Dhankosa, Balquidder. Blackhall also worked alongside Aberdeen's well loved 'first lady of drama' Annie Henderson Inglis MBE at Aberdeen Arts Centre, from 2003–2010 delivering weekend storytelling and drama workshops for three- to eight-year-olds.



  • Double Heider Loon 2003 (Itchy Coo) ISBN 1-902927-72-9
  • Minnie 3 x CDs, one book (SLRC) 2004 ISBN 1-899920-03-X
  • The Quarry Lochlands 2007
  • The Gods of Grayfriars Lane Lochlands 2008
  • Millie (Reading Bus) 2010 ISBN 978-0-9564837-4-4
  • Jean Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. 2018. Translated into North-East Scots by Sheena Blackhall and Sheila Templeton. Evertype. ISBN 978-1-78201-215-3
  • Fey Case o Dr Jekyll an Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. 2018. Translated into North-East Scots by Sheena Blackhall, and with illustrations by Mathew Staunton. Evertype. ISBN 978-1-78201-226-9
  • The Winnerfu Warlock o Oz by L. Frank Baum. 2018. Translated into North-East Scots by Sheena Blackhall, and illustrated by W. W. Denslow. Evertype. ISBN 978-1-78201-218-4.

Short stories[edit]

  • Nippick o Nor East Tales Keith Murray Publications 1989 ISBN 1-870978-09-9
  • Reets Keith Murray Publications 1991 ISBN 1-870978-33-1
  • A Hint o Granite Hammerfield Publications 1992
  • Braeheid. A Fairm an its Fowk Hammerfield Publishing 1993
  • A Kenspeckle Creel Hammerfield Publishing 1995
  • Wittgenstein's Web G.K.B.Enterprises 1996 ISBN 0-9526554-1-1
  • The Bonsai Grower GKB Enterprises 1998 ISBN 0-9526554-2-X
  • The Fower Quarters GKB Enterprises 2002 ISBN 0-9526554-6-2
  • Indian Peter Thistle Reprographics, Limited Edition 2004 (children's stories in Scots)
  • Pie in the Sky Thistle Reprographics, Limited Edition 2004 (adult stories)
  • Victor Vratch & ither bairn tales Lochlands, Maud, 2009
  • Isle o the Deid Malfranteaux Concepts 2010 ISBN 978-1-870978-63-7
  • The Jam Jar
  • 2013: Aberdeenshire Folk Tales By Grace Banks & Sheena Blackhall,pub by The History Press, 2013 ISBN 9780752497587.
  • 2014: Scottish Urban Myths and Ancient Legends (Urban Legends) by Sheena Blackhall, & Grace Banks pub. The History Press ISBN 978 0 7509 5622 2
  • The Chimaera Institute: e-book 2011 Smashwords
  • The Honey that Came from the sea: e-book Smashwords
  • Jessie the Jumbo: e-book 2014 :

Poetry books[edit]

  • Blackhall, Sheena (2014) The Space Between: New and Selected Poems Aberdeen University Press, pp. 153 + xiv. ISBN 978-1-85752-005-7
  • Stagwyse Selected Poems Charles Murray Trust 1995 ISBN 0-9521142-5-9
  • The Skreich, Poems in Scots & English Lochlands 2010
  • Victor Vratch the Craa Lochlands 2009
  • Figurehead (Poems & Prose) Lochlands 2009
  • The Ship of Fools (Poems & Story) Malfranteaux Concepts 2009
  • Cats in a Gale Lochlands 2009
  • Danse Macabre: Writings Round a Festival (Poems & Songs) Lochlands 2009
  • A Visit to Planet Auschwitz (Poems & Prose) Lochlands 2009
  • The Barley Queen (Poems & Prose) Malfranteaux Concepts 2009
  • Peacock (Poems) Lochlands 2009
  • Wittins (Selected Poems) Diehard Publishers 2010

Full list on Blog

What the Open Library holds


  1. ^ Poetry Day 09 Bio
  2. ^ Full details in Leerie-Lichts and Gorblies as available on BBC Scotland, English Non-Fiction
    and found in Spirits of the Age: Scottish Self Portraits by P. H. Scott (2005) pages 239+ ISBN 0-85411-087-9
  3. ^ Women Fitness 40th anniversary of Aberdeen epidemic 20 May 2004 accessed March 2010
  4. ^ Elphinstone Institute Archived 7 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Word 08 Press release
  6. ^ Makar of the North East of Scotland
  7. ^ National Library of Scotland
  8. ^ Scottish Book Trust Archived 19 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]